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11/11/2003  3:03 PM ET 
Statement by George M. Steinbrenner

"While I have great respect for the Baseball Writers' Association of America and all of its contributions to our national game throughout the years, I firmly believe that a great injustice has been done to Hideki Matsui.

Two misguided writers -- Bill Ballou from the Worcester (Mass.) Telegram & Gazette and Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune -- in voting for American League Rookie of the Year, clearly made up their own rules to determine who was and was not eligible for the award and disqualified an eligible candidate who could have won.

One of the writers in question, Mr. Ballou, actually said, 'While he [Matsui] is technically a rookie by the rules of Major League Baseball, he is not a rookie in the spirit of the award.'

Spirit of the award? The award was renamed by the Baseball Writers' Association to honor Jackie Robinson, its first recipient. Jackie Robinson came to the Major Leagues after playing in the Negro Leagues, a league whose high level of play is unquestioned.

This year's voting farce, where the appropriate qualifications for the award were blatantly ignored, clearly demonstrates unfairness to first-year players from Japan. And that must be stopped."

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